FROM THE FILES OF THE BRANDON SUN
The City of Brandon has narrowed the scope of its proposed rezoning west of Brandon University, leaving a stretch of 21st Street potentially open to future residential development.
The city’s planning and buildings department hosted a public open house on Tuesday at the A.R. McDiarmid Civic Complex to discuss changes to the BU West Neighbourhood Zoning Project that would see a number of properties rezoned to reflect their current usage, including both sides of 21st Street between Princess Avenue and Victoria Avenue, which are largely occupied by residences.
The project had originally centred on an area stretching from Victoria Avenue to Princess Avenue and from 23rd Street to the lane between 20th and 21st streets.
But the city chose to revise the scope of the project after receiving feedback from the public last September.
“You know what, it needed to narrow down a bit just because of some of the current zoning that’s in place,” said Coun. Shaun Cameron (University), who attended Tuesday’s open house.
“I think it’s effective to have events like these because it gives people the opportunity to see what, potentially, their neighbourhood could become and weigh in and have some feedback on that.”
The properties located along the east side of 21st Street are currently zoned educational and institutional, rather than residential, in order to accommodate a 1983 BU master plan that proposed expanding the university campus into the neighbourhood.
The university has since indicated that it does not intend on developing any further into those homes.
Also included in the study is a privately owned property at 1837 Princess Ave., a BU parking lot at 2003 Princess Ave., and a university-owned location at 2021 Victoria Ave., which is currently the home of the Glen P. Sutherland Gallery of Art.
The plan is to have the first property rezoned to residential low density, from educational and institutional, and both BU properties rezoned from residential low density and commercial arterial, respectively, to educational and institutional.
As for the strip along 21st Street, participants were asked to state their preference on what development they would prefer, ranging from semi-detached and two-storey homes, to duplexes and six-, eight- or 12-unit dwellings.
“I feel character is important for the personality of the neighbourhood,” said area resident Becky Chinn, who lives in a heritage home herself.
Chinn said that she would like to see the local architecture of the neighbourhood preserved, adding that her preference would be for development to be limited to one- or two-storey homes at most.
Alf Kennedy, managing director and project co-ordinator for Servants of Service Inc., said he would like to see more seniors housing or something “inter-generational.”
“It can’t only be a seniors complex. Those days are long gone,” he said. “It’s combining the efforts of the community at large.”
Cameron said he also believed in mixed-use housing and believed it was important to maintain the character of the neighbourhood and address parking in the area.
The city will gather feedback from the public until April 5 and draft a final proposal later in the month.
City council could begin the rezoning process as early as May, which may last as long as August.
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